Acer Aspire 5 (2022) review: Squeaking by with simply enough

Acer Aspire 5 (2022)

MSRP $700.00

“The Acer Aspire 5 (2022) is an increasingly rare budget laptop with the most recent Intel Twelfth-gen chips.”


  • Solid productivity performance
  • Excellent port selection
  • Impressive expandability
  • Touchpad is comfortable
  • Great value


  • Below-average battery life
  • Keyboard feels loose and imprecise
  • No Windows Hello support

The 2019 Acer Aspire 5 was a wonderful $400 budget laptop that made its strategy to our greatest laptops list. Then a funny thing happened: The next two versions took significant steps backward, falling off our lists and failing to garner recommendations. Now, Acer has introduced its 2022 Acer Aspire 5 that updates to Intel’s Twelfth-gen CPUs while raising the entry-level price to $650.

I reviewed the second least expensive model of the Acer Aspire 5, a $700 (currently on sale for $600) configuration with a Core i5-1235U CPU and a 15.6-inch Full HD (1,290 x 1,080) IPS display. The value has gone up, or relatively, there’s not a configuration lower than $500, meaning that the laptop doesn’t have extreme value in its favor. Fortunately, it improves in several key areas and makes for a more compelling budget alternative.


Acer Aspire 5 2022 rear view showing lid and logo.Mark Coppock/Digital Trends

The 2022 Aspire 5 saw only just a few design changes from the previous version, including a sleeker keyboard deck and a switch to a magnesium-aluminum alloy within the lid. Otherwise, it’s the identical dark gray chassis with easy lines and angles and 0 bling outside of a few Acer logos. The plastic display bezels are relatively large, with an 81% screen-to-body ratio that feels a bit old style.

Budget laptops are inclined to be plain of their designs, though, and the Aspire 5 is not any different. Note that Acer will probably be offering models with blue and gold lids that add some panache.

The laptop is constructed of plastic outside of the lid, and its construct quality is suitable for a budget laptop. There’s some bending within the lid and a few flexing within the keyboard deck, however it’s not egregious. The Lenovo Flex 5 14 and Acer Swift 3 have barely more rigid builds, however the Aspire 5 is typical for a laptop that’s well under $1,000. The hinge still props the laptop up at a slight angle to make typing more comfortable and increase airflow, and it’s still somewhat loose with a lid that wobbles during heavy typing.

Because of the big bezels and 16:9 display aspect ratio, the Aspire 5 is wider than many 15-inch laptops. It’s not as deep as some that sport 16:10 aspect ratios, and it’s reasonably thin at 0.70 inches and light-weight at 3.88 kilos.

Ports and expandability

The Aspire 5 stands out in its expandability. The insides are user-accessible, and the RAM could be upgraded while there’s a second storage slot for one more SSD. Newest laptops aren’t so easily upgradable, making the Aspire 5 more future-proof than most.

Acer Aspire 5 2022 left side view shoring ports.

acer aspire 5 2022 review right side

Connectivity is one other strength. This 12 months’s model features a USB-C port with Thunderbolt 4 support, something you don’t all the time see in budget laptops. There are also three USB-A 3.2 Gen 2 ports, a full-size HDMI 2.1 port, an Ethernet port, and a 3.5mm audio jack. Unfortunately, there’s no SD card reader. Wireless connectivity includes Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.2.


Acer Aspire 5 2022 front view showing display and keyboard deck.Mark Coppock/Digital Trends

My first remark is that the 2022 Aspire 5 is significantly faster than last 12 months’s model. That’s no surprise given the low-power Core i3 within the previous model, and there’s definitely $200 price of performance improvement. Where the 2021 Acer Aspire 5 was too slow even for $480 or so, the 2022 version is fast enough to compete with laptops that cost considerably more.

Either way, these are laptops meant for easy tasks and productivity in work — no more intense workloads like AAA games or 4K video editing.

To that end, my review unit was equipped with the Intel Core i5-1235U, a 15-watt 10-core (two Performance and eight Efficient), 12-thread CPU that slots in the midst of Intel’s Twelfth-gen lineup for thin-and-light laptops. Above it’s the 28-watt 12-core (4 Performance and eight Efficient), 16-thread P-series, and below it’s the nine-watt U-series with the identical core and thread count. That is the primary Core i5-1235U we’ve tested, but now we have the Core i7-1255U with a max Turbo frequency of 4.7GHz that we will compare to the Core i5 with a max of 4.4GHz.

Because this can be a latest CPU, I created a comparison group of other modern processors relatively than specializing in similar budget laptops. We also haven’t reviewed many 15-inch budget laptops shortly, so we don’t have many recent models to match to in the identical price range because the Aspire 5. I used Acer’s thermal performance tuning utility and located little difference between the laptop’s balanced and performance modes, but I reported each leads to the table below.

For the cash, the all-around performance was greater than acceptable.

As a working example, consider the $1,050 Dell Inspiron 14 2-in-1 running the upper clocked Core i7-1255U. The Aspire 5 was significantly faster in all our benchmarks except PCMark 10 Complete, where it was quicker but not by such a big margin. That’s likely right down to the Aspire 5’s larger chassis and higher thermals — the Dell did show more throttling than the Acer. The Aspire 5 was also much faster than the 35-watt four-core/eight-thread Core i7-11370H within the $1,000 Acer Swift 3 16.

However, the Aspire 5 was notably slower than the Lenovo Yoga 9i 14 Gen 7 with the Core i7-1260P, but that’s no surprise. It also fell behind the Asus ZenBook S 13 OLED with the eight-core, 16-thread AMD Ryzen 7 6800U running at 28 watts, especially in multi-core tests. Again, that’s to be expected and never a knock against the Acer.

Overall, the Aspire 5 provided fast performance for demanding productivity workflows, and it fell behind in CPU-intensive creative tasks. For the cash, the all-around performance was greater than acceptable for a laptop of its type.

(single / multi)
Cinebench R23
(single / multi)
PCMark 10
Acer Aspire 5 2022
(Core i5-1235U)
Bal: 1,565 / 7,352
Perf: 1,564 / 6,908
Bal: 134
Perf: 129
Bal: 1,668 / 7,671
Perf: 1,659 / 7,906
Acer Aspire 5 2021
(Core i3-1115G4)
Bal: 1,215 / 2,544
Perf: 1,300 / 2,566
Bal: 300
Perf: 297
Bal: 1,274 / 3,128
Perf: N/A
Dell Inspiron 14 2-in-1
(Core i7-1255U)
Bal: 1,703 / 6,520
Perf: 1,685 / 6,791
Bal: 153
Perf: 141
Bal: 1,729 / 6,847
Perf: 1,773 / 7,009
Lenovo Yoga 9i 14 Gen 7
(Core i7-1260P)
Bal: 1,717 / 9,231
Perf: 1,712 / 10,241
Bal: 130
Perf: 101
Bal: 1,626 / 7,210
Perf: 1,723 / 8,979
Acer Swift 3 16
(Core i7-11370H)
Bal: 1,619 / 6,119
Perf: N/A
Bal: 159
Perf: 153
Bal: 1,568 / 5,806
Perf: 1,566 / 6,053
Asus ZenBook 14X OLED
(Core i7-1165G7)
Bal: 1,536 / 5,780
Perf: 1,527 / 5,776
Bal: 175
Perf: 162
Bal: 1,479 / 5,717
Perf: 1,502 / 6,252
Asus ZenBook S 13 OLED
(Ryzen 7 6800U)
Bal: 1,417 / 6,854
Perf: 1,404 / 7,223
Bal: 112
Perf: 111
Bal: 1,402 / 8,682
Perf: 1,409 / 8,860

Gaming performance was a unique story. The Aspire 5 scored just 1,285 within the 3DMark Time Spy test, which is well below the Intel Iris Xe average. It also managed just 11 frames per second (fps) in Fortnite and 1,080p and epic graphics.

Don’t count on the Aspire 5 for anything but very casual gaming. Even though it’s not available yet on Acer’s website, there will probably be a version with an Nvidia GeForce RTX 2050 that ought to provide significantly better gaming performance, but even that uses a last-gen budget graphics card.

Time Spy
(1080p/1200p Epic)
Acer Aspire 5 2022
(Intel Iris Xe)
Bal: 1,285
Perf: 1,289
Bal: 11 fps
Perf: 11 fps
Acer Aspire 5 2021
(Intel UHD graphics)
Bal: 652
Perf: 655
Bal: 5 fps
Perf: N/A
Dell Inspiron 14 2-in-1
(Intel Iris Xe)
Bal: 1,492
Perf: 1,502
Bal: 12 fps
Perf: 12 fps
Lenovo Yoga 9i 14 Gen 7
(Intel Iris Xe)
Bal: 1,658
Perf: 1,979
Bal: 12 fps
Perf: N/A
Acer Swift 3 16
(Intel Iris Xe)
Bal: 1,911
Perf: N/A
Bal: 24 fps
Perf: N/A
Asus ZenBook 14X OLED
(GeForce MX450)
Bal: 1,756
Perf: 1,765
Bal: 18
Perf: N/A
Asus ZenBook S 13 OLED
(Radeon graphics)
Bal: 2,110
Perf: 2,213
Bal: 19 fps
Perf: 19 fps

Display and audio

Acer Aspire 5 2022 front view showing display.Mark Coppock/Digital Trends

The largest reason the last 12 months’s Aspire 5 received a low rating was its display, which was the worst we’ve seen in a laptop in years. It was atrocious, with narrow and inaccurate colours, low brightness, and a horribly low contrast ratio. Whether the Aspire 5 2022 version would make its way back onto our advisable list had loads to do with the standard of its display.

To start with, Acer retained the old-school 16:9 aspect ratio when most contemporary laptops have migrated to taller, more productivity-friendly 16:10 or 3:2 panels. That’s forgivable in a budget laptop, nonetheless. More necessary could be the colours, contrast, and brightness, and out of the box, I used to be immediately struck by a display that at the least looked decent. The colours weren’t all that dynamic, but they weren’t oversaturated, either. While blacks had a slight hint of gray, the contrast didn’t seem bad for a laptop well under $1,000. I used to be hopeful.

In response to my colorimeter, Acer dropped the display from the last version and sourced a significantly better panel. Brightness was barely lower than our 300-nit baseline at 282 nits, but that’s shiny enough for many indoor settings. Colours weren’t very wide at just 65% of sRGB and 48% of AdobeRGB, but accuracy wasn’t terrible at a DeltaE of two.79 (anything lower than 2.0 could be used more reliably for visual creative work). These aren’t great, mind you, but they’re acceptable scores for a budget laptop. The contrast was higher than the previous model at 740:1, below our preferred 1,000:1 but again, not terrible for a budget machine.

The Aspire 5’s display is positive for productivity work but doesn’t offer the colours needed for creative tasks. It’s equal to the displays within the dearer Dell Inspiron 14 2-in-1 and the $1,400 Samsung Galaxy Book Odyssey but below the opposite IPS displays in our comparison group. But for a budget laptop, the display is greater than adequate.

Contrast sRGB gamut AdobeRGB gamut Accuracy DeltaE
(lower is healthier)
Acer Aspire 5 2022
282 740:1 65% 48% 2.79
Acer Aspire 5 2021
211 60:1 53% 40% 10.7
Acer Swift 3 16
334 1,530:1 100% 77% 1.11
Samsung Galaxy Book Odyssey
350 800:1 65% 48% 2.37
Dell Inspiron 14 2-in-1
288 1,330:1 63% 48% 3.35
Lenovo IdeaPad Slim 7 16 Pro
420 1,310:1 100% 80% 1.59

Two downward-firing speakers on the front bottom of the chassis provide audio that doesn’t get very loud and, even so, has some distortion when turned all the way in which up. Highs are lacking, with most emphasis on the mids, and there’s zero bass. You’ll wish to pull out a pair of headphones for anything aside from easy system sounds.

Keyboard, touchpad, and webcam

Acer Aspire 5 2022 top down view showing keyboard and touchpad.Mark Coppock/Digital Trends

The Aspire 5’s keyboard has nicely sized keycaps and many key spacing, even given the numeric keypad. Unfortunately, its switches are loose, with an abrupt bottoming motion that’s uncomfortable over long typing sessions. It’s well behind the most effective laptop keyboards on the market.

The touchpad is significantly better, being large enough for comfortable use and offering a smooth surface for Windows 11 multitouch gestures, that are well-supported due to Microsoft Precision touchpad drivers. The buttons have a soft, quiet click that’s confident and nice to make use of.

Windows 11 Hello passwordless login is provided by an optional fingerprint reader embedded within the upper-left corner of the touchpad. Nevertheless, my review unit wasn’t equipped with that feature, so I couldn’t test it. Not having any type of passwordless security is a shame, even on a laptop of this price.

The webcam is 720p and offers Acer’s noise reduction technology. It provided decent image quality even in low light, but it could actually’t sustain with the increasingly common 1080p webcams we’re seeing in premium laptops.

Battery life

Acer Aspire 5 2022 rear angled view.Mark Coppock/Digital Trends

The Aspire 5’s battery is just 50 watt-hours, which isn’t loads for a 15-inch laptop. The display is just Full HD, though, and the Core i5-1235U is meant to be a more efficient CPU, so I expected reasonable battery life.

What I saw was barely lower than that. In our web browsing test that cycles through popular and complicated web sites, the Aspire 5 lasted about 6.5 hours. That’s lower than average and the bottom amongst our comparison group. It managed 10.75 hours in our video test that loops a neighborhood Full HD Avengers trailer, which can also be lower than average. And to finish the theme, the Aspire 5 managed 8.25 hours within the PCMark 10 Applications test that’s the most effective indication of productivity battery life. That’s competitive without our comparison group but again below average overall.

The Aspire 5 is unlikely to make it through a full day’s work unless your workflow is exceptionally light. You’ll wish to carry the proprietary charger together with you, which fortunately in all fairness small.

Web browsing Video PCMark 10
Acer Aspire 5 2022
(Core i5-1235U)
6 hours, 25 minutes 10 hours, 41 minutes 8 hours, 18 minutes
Acer Aspire 5 2021
(Core i3-1115G4)
6 hours, 55 minutes 9 hours, 29 minutes 7 hours, 53 minutes
Dell Inspiron 14 2-in-1
(Core i7-1255U)
6 hours, 42 minutes 10 hours, 6 minutes 8 hours, 43 minutes
Acer Swift 3 16
(Core i7-11370H)
8 hours, 42 minutes 12 hours, 56 minutes 9 hours, 32 minutes
Lenovo Yoga 9i 14 Gen 7
(Core i7-1260P)
9 hours, 10 minutes 12 hours, 45 minutes 8 hours, 32 minutes
 Asus Zenbook S 13 OLED
(Ryzen 7 6800U)
8 hours, 4 minutes 13 hours, 13 minutes N/A

Price and configurations

The present Acer Aspire 5 lineup carries the model number A515-57, and inside that range, the entry-level configuration is $660 for a Core i5-1235U, 8GB of LPDDR4 RAM, a 512GB SSD, and a 15.6-inch Full HD IPS display.

My review unit retails for $700 ($600 on sale) with 16GB of RAM, and you possibly can spend as much as $850 for a Core i7-1255U, 16GB of RAM, and a 1TB SSD. There are other options inside the lineup, including touch display configurations.

Our take

The 2022 Acer Aspire 5 fixes two of the previous generation’s most glaring weaknesses. It equips a significantly better display, and its performance is significantly higher. It’s also dearer, without the identical low-cost option.

While its battery life is below average and its construct quality isn’t the most effective, it’s a significantly better value even at its $700 retail price. Get it on sale for $600, and I can recommend it as a well-performing laptop with a display that meets a productivity user’s needs.

Is there a greater alternative?

I haven’t seen many budget laptops which have made the jump to Intel’s Twelfth-gen CPUs. One example is HP’s Laptop 15, which is dearer at $920 when configured because the Aspire 5.

In case you’re seeking to spend even lower than $700 (or $600), I’d consider a Chromebook option, of which there are quite just a few selections.

Beyond that, it is advisable to wait some time to see what’s available as other laptops in the identical price range upgrade to Intel’s Twelfth-gen. Otherwise, you’ll find yourself paying for yesterday’s technology.

How long will it last?

The Aspire 5 isn’t probably the most robust laptop you’ll get your hands on, however it’s solid enough to last for several years if treated kindly. The components are up to this point, meaning it should proceed to run Windows with none problems. The one-year warranty isn’t exciting, however it’s positive for a budget machine.

Must you buy it?

Yes, especially should you can get it on sale for $600. It provides fast enough performance and a pleasant enough display to justify the worth.

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